Saturday, July 31, 2010

Coffee, Controversy and Connectivity: Why Internet Cafes Concern Governments

/PRNewswire/ -- The Digital Policy Council (DPC), an international, non-partisan "think tank" on 21st Century Governance, investigates the swirling controversy around internet cafes across the globe as these establishments are sprouting into hot spots for illicit gambling, teenage gaming, terror e-mails, and other nefarious activities.

The DPC is the research and public advocacy arm of Digital Daya ('digital influence'), a new generation strategic consultancy that empowers leaders in the public sectors to leverage the new media of the Internet to communicate their message, build public influence, and execute high-impact programs to reshape governance and public policy.

According to The Digital Policy Council's most up-to-date research, governments around the world are struggling to regulate the growing number of cybercafes in their communities and whether open or autocratic, all authorities are intensifying surveillance and enforcements tactics to try and gain control over the situation.

Time For New Policy Actions

Governments at first deeply encouraged Internet cafes as a means to offer access to modern technology to its citizens and create opportunities for social and economic development. They are now heavily retreating from this idea. Internet cafes have failed as a tool for public policy.

The vast majority of Internet cafes are in reality now merely online gaming and gambling arcades. Many have become integral to government counter-terrorism strategies as heavy surveillance of these establishments is creating an unnerving atmosphere wherein people are afraid. The aspirations for cybercafes as places of innovation, inspiration, and inclusion into the digital economy have faded away.

As an alternative, the report encourages governments to consider investing in specifically designed internet-based innovation centers to promote e-literacy, build human capital, and broaden access to information technology.

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